Slate of activities to mark correctional services week

Jamaicans will be sensitised about the host of services provided by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), when the department observes Correctional Services Week from October 24 to 31.
Acting Commissioner of Corrections, Lt. Colonel Garfield Prendergast, speaking at a press conference at the Corporate Area Probation Office in Kingston yesterday (October 21), said this year’s celebration will seek to increase public awareness about the DCS’ broad scope of activities, which extend beyond the prisons.
“There are many citizens of this country that, when you mention the department by name, the only thing that they visualise are the correctional centres – the main prisons, and they don’t realise that there is much more to the Department of Corrections than just the custodial side,” he said.
He is inviting the public to come out and participate in the slate of activities, which will be held across the island.
Correctional Services Week is being observed under the theme: ‘Rehabilitation: Changing Lives; Restoring Hope’ and activities kick off on Sunday (Oct. 24) with a service at the Faith Temple New Testament Church of God in Portmore, St. Catherine, starting at 8:45 a.m.
Monday (Oct. 25) has been reserved for internal activities across all adult and juvenile institutions, while Tuesday (Oct. 26) has been dubbed ‘Probation Day’, and will feature the community services aspect of the DCS at work.
In Region One, the St. Thomas Probation Office in collaboration with the Victim Support Unit will host a restorative justice seminar at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; while the Corporate Area Probation Office and the Kingston Family Court will host a health and information fair at the St. Paul United Church on Lockett Avenue in Kingston from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Over in Portland, a community walk has been organised for the day and will feature DCS personnel walking through communities in East Portland and reaching out to residents, who do not normally have access to the services.
Meanwhile, in Region Two, the Portmore Probation Office will host a ‘meet and greet’ session at the Portmore Mall from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., while in Region Three, an information fair will be held at the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate court yard from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Activities continue on Wednesday (Oct. 27) with staff of the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre showing off their athletic prowess during a sports day at the facility’s Sports Club from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The DCS’ annual awards dinner will be held on Thursday (Oct. 28) at the Wyndham Kingston hotel starting at 7:00 p.m., to honour long serving staff and retirees. Guest speaker will be Psychologist Dr. Leahcim Semaj.
On Friday (Oct. 29), Wolmer’s High School for Girls and Kingston College will debate the moot: ‘Prisons should be for rehabilitation rather than punishment.’ at the Girls’ school on Marescaux Road in Kingston, starting at 11:00 a.m.
The week wraps up with an Exposition/Trade Fair at Devon House from Saturday (Oct. 30) to Sunday (Oct. 31) from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The two-day event will showcase various items produced by inmates in the juvenile and adult institutions, which will be available for sale.

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